Francis Jollie (1815 – 1870)

It seemed many brothers decided to throw their lot in together and make a go of things in Canterbury…and they make the most interesting character studies. There were the Deans, Brittans, Moorhouses, Bealeys, Greenwoods, Rhodes, Wakefields, Fishers and the Jollies – Francis Jollie is pictured here.

Francis Jollie (1815 – 1870) arrived in the Wakefield Settlement of Nelson on board the ‘Fifeshire’ in 1842. The ‘Fifeshire’ was Nelson’s first of its first four ships, the others being the ‘Lord Auckland’, ’Mary Anne,’ and the ‘Lloyd’. He took up land in Wakapuaka and named it “Thackwood”.

Even though Francis was a farmer by trade, he also became an agent for the New Zealand Company in the wake of the massacre of Wairau where Arthur Wakefield (whose brother – Edward Gibbon Wakefield – was the owner of The New Zealand Company) lost his life. As an old man, Francis never forgot the fear that almost ripped the young colony apart during that dark time.

Meanwhile, Francis’ younger brother – by 10 years – Edward was arriving across the strait in Port Nicholson (Wellington) where he had taken a cadet position as a surveyor for the New Zealand Company.

When Edward lost his job with the New Zealand Company in 1845, it was Francis that he went too. Together they worked the land at ‘Thackwood’.

In 1850, Edward made the move down to Christchurch where he had been hired by the Canterbury Association to be a surveyor. Working with some of the other big pioneer names such as Thomas, Torlesse and Cass, Edward played his major role in the shaping and naming of Christchurch, Lyttelton and Sumner.

Edward was back at ‘Thackwood’ when again, he found himself without work in 1853. It was around this time that Francis had decided to move down south to Canterbury. Together the brothers drove Francis’ cattle from the Nelson to Canterbury, being the very first to do so. This feat is remembered in the naming of Jollies Pass, just north of Hanmer Springs.

Francis and Edward broke ground at Peel Forest, South Canterbury. In 1858, just before Edward relocated to Cheviot, Francis headed home to England for a year.
On his return he married Jane Cooper at St Peter’s Anglican Church on Church’s Corner in Upper Riccarton.

In 1861, Francis took a seat in Timaru’s House of Representatives, while Edward had taken his place in the Canterbury Provincial Council. Francis continued on to the Gladstone House of Representatives and also took the position of Colonial Treasurer in 1866. He is mostly remembered for his fight for district and farmer’s rights, never forgetting his farming roots.

He died at Peel Forest on the 30th November, 1870.

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